It’s easy to overspend this time of year. Holiday parties. Gifts. Black Friday deals. Vacations. These are all good things, but if we’re not careful, our wallets can empty quickly. Is it possible to get through the holidays without breaking the bank? The answer to that is yes. With a little planning and preparation, it is possible. Here are some tips to keep spending in check this holiday season – and they’re simpler than you might think.
Make a Budget
The first tip is one you probably already know, but it can make a big difference. Before putting together a shopping list or booking that vacation, draft up a budget for you or your household. A budget gives you a specified amount to spend on any particular item. You want to make sure that your budget is realistic based on your income and expenses like your car, mortgage, groceries, etc. Once you create a budget, it is much easier to keep spending within the designated amount rather than paying for something without a limit in mind. This also limits the temptation for miscellaneous purchases, which can add up quickly.
When it comes to healthy financial habits, planning is essential. While you can’t plan for everything, you can avoid last-minute price increases by doing your holiday shopping early. The same is true if you need to purchase airline or train tickets. Even a few days can make a big difference when it comes to how much you spend. It might seem unnecessary right now, but the result can mean up to hundreds of dollars in savings than if you were to do these things at the last minute.
Keep Paying Bills
It can be tempting to forego or delay paying credit card bills or other forms of debts during the holidays to free up some finances for other things. However, this is never a good idea. It only takes one missed payment to negatively affect your credit, and it’s much more difficult to improve it afterward. You also would be responsible for paying any late fees which would be an added expense. Keep your sanity and your money by staying on track with your payments as usual.
Track Your Spending
A simple way to know if your expenses align with your budget during the holidays and at any time of the year is to track your spending. You can do it through mobile apps or even just via a spreadsheet. Again, it can take some time to do this, but the benefits outweigh the consequences of overspending and starting the New Year feeling overwhelmed by your finances.
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